During the winters of 1939-40 and 1940-41, two experiments involving 456 bobwhite quail, were conducted at the Patuxent Research Refuge, Bowie, Maryland, to determine the palatability and comparative feeding value of 20 common wild quail-foods when offered as a part of a maintenance diet....2. Mortality was low on all diets, the highest occurring on that containing a mixture of bayberry and wax myrtle fruits. On all diets the birds showed increases in weight during the early winter. These gains were better maintained by birds on the wild foods than those on control diets composed entirely of cultivated feedstuffs.....3. There were statistically significant differences between the quantities of the various diets eaten.....4. For palatability and acceptability, seeds of common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) and of shrub lespedeza (Lespedeza bicolor) were the preferred wild foods.....5. It is concluded that pen-reared bobwhite quail can be maintained successfully through winters in the vicinity of Washington, D. C., on diets containing 50 per cent of any one of the wild foods listed and 50 per cent of a high-caloric commercial seed mixture with yellow corn as the principal cereal.....6. The results of these 'cafeteria' studies, although interesting and indicative of the preferences of quail in confinement, do not necessarily represent selections that might be. made by bobwhites in the wild.
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Value of wild feedstuffs for pen-reared bobwhite quail in winter